3 novel responses

Home Fire – Kamila Shamsie


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200 wd post

What do you think of Isma and Eamonn Lone’s relationship? Why doesn’t Isma let on that she knows who Eamonn’s father is?
Provide textual detail and brief quotes as evidence in support of your response.

200 wd response to:
Isma and Eamonn have an interesting relationship. “Bay-takalufi” is the phrase that always comes back to my memory when I think of the two. Eamonn initially mistook the phrase for an equivalent of intimacy, but Isma explains it as something more. She says “It’s about feeling comfortable with someone. Comfortable enough to forget good table manners.” She goes further to explain that it is a sort of honor that one can put upon another, its something special. Isma knows that if he knew that she knew his father, she would be putting their entire relationship at stake. A relationship that she valued. She would be risking the loss of “bay-takalufi.” Initially, before she recognized that they had a connection, I think she was just curious. Not wanting to assume his person and values without giving him a chance to speak for himself. A grace that was never extended to her brother, whom all assumptions fell upon. Then, lastly, there is the timing. It’s like when you forget someones name but have known them too long to ask. After keeping her knowledge from him for so long, now whenever she mentions it it will cause a divide, it will be awkward, it will be a secret she kept from him.

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
200 wd post to:
How is King Henry VIII described in the novel? Is he self-serving, or does he truly believe in the validity of his actions? Does he come over as a sympathetic character? Provide textual detail and brief quotes as evidence in support of your response.

Respond to post: 200 wds
I think King Henry does believe in the validity of his actions, as in I don’t think he feels that he’s doing anything wrong by them. However, his actions are very self serving, so his lack of remorse makes him a worse person in my eyes. His affections seem very ephemera, as he easily becomes unhappy with wives he was once infatuated with, and moves on to the next. He also has no trouble believing them to be terrible and worthless, which makes it easier for him to throw them out. His chief concern seems to be his own interests and desires and pleasures, and woman to him don’t serve any higher purpose than to satisfy these. If they don’t, he doesn’t want them anymore, and he seeks to get rid of them in whatever way. Yet, Mantel shows a decent side of him too, with his friends and with Cromwell he does show a pretty steady regard, and is polite and kind to them. For example on page 175 he says to Cromwell after his “death”, “Your own mother on the day you were born was no gladder to see you than I was today” (Mantel 175). He is obviously able to show kindness and to have feelings of love and concern. However, when it comes to women, they can turn at any moment.

God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
200wd Post regarding:
In The God of Small Things, how do Chapters 2 and 14 document Roy’s critique of the CPI(M) through the depiction of Comrade Pillai’s attitude toward Velutha? Provide textual detail and brief quotes from both chapters in your response.
200wd response to post:

The reader is first introduced to the CPI(M) in the second chapter of the novel, when the family is stuck in a car during a march. We find out that the march is organized and run by a sub-group of the Communist Party entitled the Naxalites, who were protesting for the rights of the lower class workers — specifically, for those workers to get paid more. The Naxalites are described as the most militant faction of the CPI(M), whose movement “spread across the country and struck terror in every bourgeois heart.” (roy, 66). Comrade E.M.S. Namboodiripad expelled the Naxalites from his party. Velutha is drawn to the protests of the Naxalites, as Ammu sees him in the march, because he is an Untouchable wanting to earn more money and change the caste system that is so deeply rooted in India at this time. Later on in the novel, in a conversation between Comrade Pillai and Chacho, the former describes Velutha as “a good worker” and “highly intelligent.” (Roy, 262). In the same conversation, however, Comrade Pillai also said Velutha is someone who is “going to cause trouble” and “he may be very well okay as a person. But other workers are not happy with him… From a local standpoint, these caste issues are very deeply rooted.” (Roy, 263). Even though Comrade Pillai admitted that Velutha was a good and strong worker, Velutha’s character, to Comrade Pillai, ultimately is limited by his lower-class status.

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